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Whooping cough: Doctors urge Chinese authorities to review vaccine strategy as cases surge

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 10 June 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1274
  1. Flynn Murphy
  1. Bangkok

Doctors in China are urging a rethink of the government’s whooping cough immunisation strategy as cases of the highly contagious bacterial infection surge to historic highs.

In April China recorded 91 272 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) and seven deaths, showed a monthly update on notifiable diseases released on 31 May by the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration.1 That figure was up from 27 078 cases in March with no deaths2 and from 17 105 in February with eight deaths.3 China recorded more cases in the month of April than in any full year since 1985.4

Pertussis outbreaks tend to occur every five to seven years, and the current resurgence in Europe, the US, and Australia was “overdue,” delayed by pandemic measures, said Vitali Sintchenko, a public health microbiologist at the University of Sydney …

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